I Found My Favorite Books of 2015…Just Not in the Way I Expected

Today I have another great guest post from my friend John, you know the author of Burlwood Forest. 

favorite books


I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the release of Burlwood Forest. It’s great to be back! So much has happened since then. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a bunch of schools, be a part of book festivals, hold my own contests and promotions, and even release a second novel. You might have heard…Through the Woods, the second chapter of the Burlwood Forest Trilogy is NOW available on Amazon.com! You should check it out! But that’s not the only thing I’ve been up to. Sometimes, you have to do a little ‘research.’


A few years ago, I joined the online social network,Goodreads. You might be familiar with it, but I figured as an author, it would be a good opportunity to connect with my readers and discover new books. I quickly dove in and immersed myself in everything it had available, and I soon found that it gives users the ability to create a public reading challenge. That intrigued me. I’ve always loved to read, but as I’ve found myself busier and busier each year, it’s been harder to get through the huge stack of books on my shelf. This time, I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen. I was going to finish 25 books in 2015. I’m happy to say that I accomplished my goal, coming in under the wire just this month. I was blown away with some of the stories I read. Here are a few of the highlights from my year-

jim henson

Jim Henson: The Biography- Brian Jay Jones

Pretty much everyone knows the Muppets. In recent years, they’ve even have made a resurgence into the public consciousness thanks to a new partnership with Disney. But how many people know about their creator, Jim Henson? For a man that worked his entire life to stay behind the scenes, Jim Henson: The Biography proves that his story might be the most interesting one of all. Jones’ work is a masterpiece. It tells of the struggles Henson faced as he grappled with his own humanity and the limitations that created. He wanted to be known for everything- family man, creator, director, performer. In some ways, he was successful. In others, he became the monster he so desperately tried to avoid. There’s something inspirational and exciting in the way Jones explains Henson’s life. It’s truly a fun way to look at one of the greatest minds of our time.


Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact- AJ Hartley

Written by North Carolina author, AJ Hartley, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact centers around Darwen Arkwright, a boy who leaves England for a large town in the American south. Feeling nervous and out-of-place in his new Atlanta home, Darwen befriends some of the school’s outcasts, only to find that a secret world exists behind a mirror he found at the mall. Filled with imagination and wonder, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact conjures up memories of the Chronicles of Narnia, and the sense that a world we don’t know is never too far away. The first of a trilogy of books, Darwen’s adventure stands out in the increasingly cluttered young adult genre.


The Divergent Series (3 Books)- Veronica Roth

A worldwide phenomenon, much like its dystopian counterpart, The Hunger Games, Divergent challenges some of the most common conceptions we hold as a society. When their unshakeable belief in the system is challenged by a young girl, the people of Chicago cast these ideas aside for a reality they never could have anticipated, or prepared for. The rise of Divergent alongside The Hunger Games is not a coincidence. We live in a time of unprecedented communication, where the world seems more chaotic and dangerous than ever. While we like to think that such a reality would never occur, perhaps it strikes a chord we just can’t ignore.

console wars

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation- Blake J Harris

They’ve produced some of the most iconic characters in pop culture today. Mario. Pikachu. Donkey Kong. Sonic the Hedgehog. But how did Nintendo and Sega rise to prominence? What role did competition play in their success? It was everything. To many, THIS Is the war of the 1990’s. THIS is the a battle that shaped a generation. Blake J Harris’ Console Wars tells this story like it’s never been told before. Both engaging and informative, hours of countless research combine to form an inside perspective on two of the greatest entertainment companies in the world. Hindsight is everything though, and it’s the perspective Harris provides that makes Nintendo and Sega’s current situations so interesting. While, Sega eventually got out of the console business and became one of their rival’s greatest partners, Nintendo experienced even more success the following decade with their Wii hardware system. History often shows us who we are, and with Nintendo and Sega, it proves that the possibilities are endless.


The Wardstone Chronicles (13 Books)/The Starblade Chronicles (1 Book)- Joseph Delaney

The Wardstone Chronicles tell the story of Tom Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son who is forced to leave home at an early age to fight the Dark. Under the tutelage of John Gregory, the greatest Spook the County has ever seen, Tom must learn to defeat the likes of boggarts, witches and ghasts, or face the same fate as many apprentices before him…death. Joseph Delaney’s 13-volume epic, brought to life in the 2014 film, Seventh Son, has the scale of Lord of the Rings, while avoiding the familiar trappings of so many series before it. Sure, the story of Tom Ward is intense. It’s complicated. But most of all, it’s altogether unique. Sometimes you know when you have a good thing on your hands and Delaney has just that. The adventure continues in A New Darkness, the first novel of the Starblade Chronicles, published last year.


With 2016 almost upon us, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Such a successful year almost begs me to increase my challenge, and I’ll probably do it too. From one reader to another, as a writer and a friend, I challenge YOU to read 25 books next year. Not only will you discover a new adventure, but you’ll also find out something about yourself too. It’s worth it in so many ways. To stay up-to-date on what I’m up to, and to make Burlwood Forest and Through the Woods part of YOUR year, head to www.burlwoodforest.com to learn more.


JOHN CHOQUETTE is the author of Burlwood Forest, and the owner of Pumpernickel Art, a lifestyle design and publishing company founded in 2014. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, and he is currently a writer for an emerging music web site. He received a B.A. in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and lives in the Triangle area with his amazing wife. To learn more about Burlwood Forest, check it out online at Burlwood Forest, on Twitter @burlwoodforest, and on Facebook. Burlwood Forest is available on Amazon.


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